Lockets and Tears

She was getting worse with each passing day. She no longer glowed like she once had. Her eyes were dull nowadays, not the emerald he’d gotten used to throughout the years they’d been together.

            Recalling the way her face contorted in raw anguish, the man cringed.

Years ago, he’d found her lying on the hardwood floor in the living room of her parents’ house, bleeding at the wrists. Something had broken inside of her, and it never quite mended – and if it did, it healed in the wrong position, like a shattered bone not treated properly.

            Now, in a different atmosphere, almost a whole new era, he was giving up all hope he’d ever had for their future together. And as she lay on the black, leather couch, her index and middle fingers ta-ta-tap tapped endlessly on the cushion by her head. Incoherent murmurs tumbled from her pale, cracked lips even as he announced his presence in the room.

            With a gentle voice, he asked, “Hey. Want some tea?” shrugging his shoulders to bring attention to the silver tray he carried. He received no response but the dead mutters. “Come on. It’s tea.” Setting it on the coffee table, he crouched beside the green-eyed woman and pushed her chocolate-brown curls away from her sticky forehead, and behind her ears. The subtle odor of unbrushed teeth and dirty hair washed over him, but he didn’t complain - it was almost normal now. “It’ll help you sleep.”

            “Am I gonna die?”

            The man paused at the enormity of the sudden question and he leaned in to kiss her on the cheek. Closing his eyes, he whispered against her flushed skin. “No. You’ll be fine.”

            “I-is the b-boy alright?” she stammered breathlessly, her voice broken, tired.

            Deciding to humour her, considering it would be best for her mental health, he said, “Uhm, yeah. He’s alright.”

            “Good.” She paused solemnly, staring through him with a blank expression. All was silent now, at least. “I want my tea.”

            Handing the white, ceramic cup to her, he noted the trembling hands, the fragileness of her body, and he thought on her question long and hard, praying to whatever god was out there that she would live through this. The silent prayer, though, was interrupted by a loud clatter. His pants leg was expiditiously wet at the knee. The sting of the hot tea hardly registered in his brain.

He ignored it all.

            Her breathing was rough. Shallow. Those beautiful eyes of hers rolled back into her head.

            He cried out desperately, pleading to her to stay with him.

No response.

Only a choking sound at the back of her throat.

Her small frame shuddered violently. Grabbing the wireless phone, he pressed “9” but frail fingers closed around his wrist.

            “D-don’t . . .” Her glazed eyes returned and rested back on him. He gently set the device back on the table.

            His hands moved to either side of her face – which he handled like a sculpture made of thin ice – and he kissed her lips. “But I can’t lose you.”

            “You could never lose me.” She placed a trembling hand on his chest, right over the silver locket, and his stuttering heart.


The End

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